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LtCol Antonio B. Smith

Posted By: Community Manager 06-04-10



[00:04.0] LTCOL ANTONIO SMITH: I was probably an above average student. I was a diamond in the rough. I think that’s probably the easiest way to say it. So getting an opportunity to go to college was a golden opportunity for me. I was the first child in my family to attend college. So it was a pretty significant transformation, but it was not beyond what I was capable of doing. I think the opportunity just needed to be there. When I went to college, then that’s when I started understanding the difference between enlisted and an officer, and I started to come to grips with the leadership responsibilities that are entrusted to officers. I can’t think of any job, and I’m thinking hard, but I cannot think of one occupation where you’re 21 years old and you’re responsible for 40 or 41 people, and you can make life and death decisions at 21 years old and that’s where I was 21 years old. And I think you immediately start to get an appreciation for the pride, the sense of belonging to the Marine Corps. And then we have a proud history. I mean you look back at World War II, the flag rising on Mount Suribachi. You look at Montford Point Marines. We just have a rich history. And immediately you’re associated with that history and you’re expected to uphold all of those values. So it’s not really difficult once you get into the Marine Corps to have the same amount of pride, pride in wearing your uniform neatly, pride in holding your head high. I really truly love the Marine Corps. I love the people. I think the people are important. I think the - - what the Marine Corps stands for – honor, courage and commitment, that’s what I stand for, and so those things keep me in. I do understand at a time - - at some point in time I’ll have to retire and transition to the civilian world, but right now I love being a Marine. I’ll always be a Marine. I don’t think when I retire I’m out of the Marine Corps. Maybe I’ve taken the - - the uniform off, but being a Marine is in your heart. It’s not what you wear. It’s in your heart, and we can communicate that way. I think once you meet someone whether they’re in uniform or not you quickly identify them as a Marine, and again it’s just that common bond, how we’re trained, that brotherhood, that sisterhood, that camaraderie, going on deployments, going overseas, going into combat, and it makes you a family. [02:27.0]
Committing to the Marine Corps allowed Lieutenant Colonel Antonio B. Smith to become the first in his family to go to college. A junior officer by age 21, he was entrusted with the responsibility of leading more than 40 Marines.

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